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The Fractal Roguelike

Back in 2013, I wrote a post about Spelunky HD and its demonstration of "rule horizons," a concept I described as "expanding layers of complexity that radiate from a central core ruleset." Like many games that strike a delicate balance between simplicity and depth, Spelunky expands with the player's expertise. ...

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Family BASIC in 2019

In preparation for an article I'm writing on hobbyist Japanese Famicom programmers in the 80s, I've spent the past few days diving into a quirky bit of software from Nintendo called Family BASIC. If you've never heard of it before, FB was a Japan-only release for the Nintendo Family Computer ...

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Epoch Electronic War Game: Battle of Dan-no-ura (1984)

Though most of my research into 1980s Japanese board games has focused on Bandai's prodigious output, they had several competitors in that era, including Hobby Japan, Tsukuda Hobby, Epoch, Takara, Hanayama, Enix, and Nintendo. During their brief stint into wargames (c. 1981–84) via the "Game for Adult if Series," Bandai's ...

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Bandai’s Joy Family

A Japanese toymaker's role in the history of board games If you played NES in the 80s, watched Power Rangers in the 90s, or dipped into the world of Japanese toys in the past five decades, you've likely heard of Bandai. Established in 1950, the toymaker managed to insinuate their name ...

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The Future of Videogames, 1977

In January 1977, the Electronic Engineering Times organized a three-day gathering of designers, manufacturers, consultants, and suppliers hailing from the nascent electronic game industry. Eighteen talks from this First Annual Gametronics Conference were later collected in the Gametronics Proceedings, archiving a fascinating glimpse into the diverse and exciting future of ...

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